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The First Casualtyby Ben Elton
Synopses & Reviews
From Ben Elton, author of the hugely successful Past Mortem, a gut-wrenching historical drama which forces us to handle the truth.
Flanders, June 1917: a British officer and celebrated poet is shot dead, killed not by German fire, but while he was recuperating from shell shock well behind the lines. A young English soldier is arrested and, although he protests his innocence, is charged with his murder.
Douglas Konig is a conscientious objector, previously a detective with the London police, now imprisoned for his beliefs. He is released and sent to France in order to secure a conviction in the case. Forced to conduct his investigations amid the hell of the third Battle of Ypres, Konig soon discovers that both the evidence and the witnesses he needs are quite literally disappearing into the mud that surrounds him.
Ben Elton's tenth novel is a gut-wrenching historical drama that explores some fundamental questions. What is murder? What is justice in the face of unimaginable daily slaughter? And where is the honour in saving a man from the gallows if he is only to be returned to die in a suicidal battle?
As the gap between legally sanctioned and illegal murder becomes ever more blurred, Konig quickly learns that the first casualty of war is Truth.
"A work of formidable imaginative scope the writing is so good, the language so surprisingly subtle and the characters so beautifully delineated." Daily Telegraph
"Riveting action scenes bristle with a queasy energy unputdownable and disgustingly realistic." Sunday Telegraph
In Flanders in June 1917, a British officer and celebrated poet is shot dead, killed not by German fire, but while recuperating from shell shock well behind the lines. A young English soldier is arrested and, although he protests his innocence, charged with his murder. Douglas Konig, formerly a detective with the London police, soon discovers that both the evidence and the witnesses he needs are quite literally disappearing into the mud that surrounds him.
About the Author
Ben Elton's career as both performer and writer encompasses some of the most memorable and incisive comedy of the last twenty years. His TV credits include The Young Ones, Blackadder, and The Thin Blue Line. He has written three West End plays, directed a feature film, and written a musical with Andrew Lloyd Webber.
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